The Air Force has acquired about 125,000 M18s from Sig Sauer and is making them available to Security Forces and other combat arms units. The new weapons, purchased for $22.1 million, will replace the M9 pistols that have been used by airmen since 1985.

“The Air Force bought the M9s back in the 1980s, and the design has not really changed since then,” said Merrill Adkison, Small Arms Program Office senior logistics manager, in a press release. “M9s are larger, heavier, all-metal pistols; whereas M18s are lighter polymer pistols with a more consistent trigger pull and adjustable grips for large and small hands.”

In addition to better technical aspects, the modern, modular handgun will be easier to replace and sustain given the increasing difficulty of maintaining older technology, Adkison said. The new M18 also costs about one-third of what it would cost to buy an M9 today.

The purchase includes test ammunition and engineering services. Delivery of the M18s is anticipated to be complete by August 2022.

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